There are a lot of reasons to love Subnautica. Whether it’s the beautiful (yet terrifying) open world, the great survival mechanics, or the incredible base building, it’s hard to play the game and not have a good time doing it. But, as is the case with all games, your time in Subnautica will come to an end.
Maybe you’ve beaten the game, or you’ve been playing it for hundreds of hours and are now burnt out. Or maybe you still play it non-stop, you just want to try out some similar games to it. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the right place! Here in this article, we’ll be going over and ranking the top 10 games like Subnautica.
Top 10 Games Like Subnautica
Without any delays, let’s hop right into our ranking!
First up on our list is the 2D game Sunless Sea! Developed by Failbetter Games and released in 2015, this survival exploration game sees you sail across a vast, mysterious ocean haunted by Lovecraftian monsters. You’ll become the captain of your own ship with a crew at your command as you search through an underground sea for loot and valuable items, all while trying to survive the terrifying environments you find yourself in.
The game features RPG elements and a great progression system. As you gather resources, you’ll steadily upgrade your ship and become better equipped for the enemies you’ll fight along the way. It features a combat system that involves you battling it off against strange and fearsome creatures. If you loved the unique enemies and animals in Subnautica, you’ll definitely be intrigued by the ones found in Sunless Sea.
I really, really love the horror of this game. It’s not your traditional first-person jump-scare fest, but instead takes on a more psychological horror element. If you’re a fan of HP Lovecraft, you’re sure to enjoy what this game has to offer. And if you loved the feeling of exploring a dark, mysterious ocean full of horrifying creatures in Subnautica, you’re sure to be reminded of that when you play Sunless Sea!
Up next, we have the game Windbound! This is a really beautiful-looking survival game that sees you playing as a young woman shipwrecked on an island in the middle of a strange archipelago. Now you must stay alive by hunting the local wildlife for food and building yourself a boat so you can sail to other islands to explore and discover what they have to offer.
Exploring the many different beautiful islands is incredibly relaxing and enjoyable. I definitely recommend this game if you loved the beautiful and vibrant scenery of Subnautica’s opening biome. Gathering resources is a great way to de-stress, especially when you don’t have to constantly worry about running out of oxygen.
The game can get pretty difficult, especially later on, however. You’ll encounter even more strange and difficult enemies the more you explore the island, and they can be very challenging to take on. The game features a more complicated combat system than what Subnautica has. So if you want a survival game with a bigger emphasis on battling enemies, this just might be the game for you.
For our next spot on the list, we have the game Abzu! Do you remember the games Journey and Flower for the PlayStation 3? I sure do. If you loved those kinds of games, then you are going to be blown away by this one! Abzu is a third-person exploration game set underwater in an absolutely stunning series of environments. With beautiful graphics and an intriguing story, it’s hard to put this game down once you start playing it.
In the game, you play as a humanoid creature that finds itself in the middle of the ocean. Their backstory is pretty vague at first and you’ll need to play through the game for answers. You move around in a 3D environment, interacting with the various aquatic life and navigating your way through different environments. The gameplay is pretty simplistic, as it’s meant to be a relaxing and exploration-focused game.
I actually thought the story was pretty good. I won’t spoil what happens, but it involves searching through underwater ruins and discovering some fascinating things about your character’s history. It also involves you teaming up with an initially hostile shark to take down a common foe. If you really loved the environments and underwater exploration of Subnautica, then you should absolutely pick up this game now!
Now at the next spot on our list for the top 10 games like Subnautica, we have Stranded Deep! This is another open-world survival crafting game. It sees you play as a plane crash survivor marooned on a deserted island. You have nothing but your wits and the natural resources surrounding you to help you survive and thrive in a tropical paradise. If you’ve ever seen Tom Hanks’ Castaway, you should know what to expect (volleyball not included).
The game plays similarly to what you’ll find in a lot of games in this genre. You need to make sure your hunger and thirst meters are under control. You also need to make sure you don’t suffer too much from the naturally high temperatures. If that’s not enough, you’ll also need to worry about breaking your bones and suffering from natural poisons! Oh, and did I mention there are sharks in the water?
If you love the base-building in Subnautica, you should also love what you’ll find in this game. You can harvest wood to construct a variety of different bases to keep you safe from the natural world. You won’t be building anything underwater, as you can only construct bases on the various islands you’ll encounter. But there is still a lot of room for creativity in how you want to build your homestead.
At spot number six on this list, we have the indie survival game FarSky! Out of all the games on our list, this is the one that looks and plays the most like Subnautica. You may be quick to think, “Wow, this looks like a Subnautica rip-off,” but that simply isn’t true. FarSky actually released a few months before Subnautica’s early access!
It’s honestly a shame that Subnautica was coincidentally being developed at the same time, as it managed to completely overshadow this little indie gem. The game begins with your character getting stranded in the middle of an ocean. Your submarine crashed, and its parts have been scattered all throughout the ocean floor. You’ll need to survive in dangerous waters while you track down and retrieve all the pieces to repair the sub and escape!
In the meantime, you’ll need to build several bases across multiple biomes underwater. You’ll have to hunt fish and grow food while crafting higher-quality gear in order to make navigating the waters safer and faster. While FarSky is a pretty short and simple game, it’s still a great little passion project made with a lot of love.
You might be hesitant to play this when you could just play Subnautica instead, as that game does everything FarSky does and more. While I understand your hesitation, I still recommend checking this game out. Think of it like going to a restaurant and ordering a small appetizer to go after you’ve finished eating. It may not be as filling or as tasty as the main course, but it’s a great snack later if you’re hungry for more!
ARK: Survival Evolved
We’re halfway through our list of games like Subnautica, and we have to talk about ARK: Survival Evolved! This is a very popular open-world survival game set in a prehistoric science fiction setting. The game puts players on a strange island inhabited by creatures like dinosaurs and dragons! You’ll need to learn how to avoid, kill, or even tame the dangerous beasts in order to survive and get off the island alive.
This game features a lot of the bells and whistles as Subnautica, but with a prehistoric aesthetic instead. You’ll be gathering resources and crafting gear to survive. And you’ll be building a base in order to keep yourself safe from the many dangers on the island. You can also play with friends, making it a great game to unwind with on your day off.
My favorite thing about this game is taming the many different dinosaurs and creatures that you encounter! The ability to tame and ride the animals, using them in combat and for collecting resources, really makes you feel like you are mastering the land and becoming the dominant force on the island. It’s really satisfying to see yourself go from being weak and defenseless to having literal dinosaurs fight for you!
Taking up the next spot on our ranking, we of course have the game that started the golden age of open-world survival crafting games, Minecraft! This is many people’s favorite childhood game, and for very good reason. It is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable open-world games out there. And the amount of creativity and freedom it offers players is unmatched to this very day!
The game features a survival mode in which you spawn inside of a randomly generated world. From here, you’ll need to gather resources such as wood, stone, and iron. You can use these materials to craft tools and armor to fend off hostile monsters and get better resources. There are many different biomes for you to explore, from lush jungles to snowy mountains, all the way to vibrant coral reefs!
The base-building in this game is its strongest selling point. There is a huge amount of different materials that you can use in order to build the home of your dreams. It offers a lot more freedom than Subnautica in terms of the materials that you can use, as well as how and where you want to put your base. There is also a creative mode in the game if you don’t want to worry about gathering resources and just want to focus on building things.
The Long Dark
Up next on our list of games like Subnautica, we have the Winter survival game The Long Dark! This game does not take place in a warm, underwater tropical paradise. Instead, you’ll find yourself deep in the icy wilderness of the Canadian north! The story follows a man whose plane crashlands after getting hit by a geomagnetic storm. He barely survives the crash, and must now must scavenge old homes and hunt for food to survive the long winter.
If you really loved the survival elements of Subnautica, you’ll really appreciate what The Long Dark has to offer its players. You’ll have to manage various different meters — such as your hunger and thirst — while holding off the cold and various different diseases. You can search homes for supplies and make fires in their fire pits at night, and hunt various creatures while defending yourself from wild predators during the day!
In addition to the great survival aspects, I also really love the atmosphere of this game. There’s something really calming yet unsettling about exploring an abandoned Canadian town while a blizzard blows through the trees and wolves howl in the distance. Combine its survival mechanics and great atmosphere with its really good story, and you have a game that features some of the best aspects of Subnautica!
No Man’s Sky
Next up is the popular sci-fi MMO No Man’s Sky! Despite its rough release back in 2016, the game has since evolved to be one of the best online multiplayer games out there! Like Subnautica, it is an open-world survival crafting game. In No Man’s Sky, you play as a pilot whose spaceship is currently broken down on an alien planet. You gather some resources to repair the ship and learn the basics of the game. After that, you can blast off into space and have access to a whole galaxy to explore!
The gameplay loop is simple. You’ll explore an exotic and randomly generated planet, scanning the flora and fauna there to learn more about them. Then you’ll gather resources on the planet such as iron, carbon, and much more. Finally, you’ll use these materials to upgrade your gear and ship and to build/upgrade a base of operations. It’s incredibly satisfying, and it’s similar to what you do in Subnautica, especially since scanning local plant and animal life are a big part of both games.
And with the release of the Abyss Update for No Man’s Sky back in 2018, there is now an abundance of underwater life for you to discover! You can fly to nearly any planet and find lush ecosystems underneath the waves, and you can build bases down there as well. It’s the perfect game to play if you loved Subnautica but want something that you can play online with your friends.
For our final pick for games like Subnautica, we have the multiplayer-friendly Raft! Raft is an open-world survival game like many others on this list. When playing this game, you’ll find yourself stranded on a raft in the middle of an ocean. Your job is to gather food and resources to sustain yourself and upgrade your raft to be bigger and better. You can scavenge for resources underwater, as well as on various islands you’ll discover around the map.
In addition to gathering resources, you can also conduct research to increase your options for crafting and building better stuff. You can also create a garden and grow different vegetables to sustain yourself, which is an absolute necessity. While many games on this list feature multiplayer, this one has a much stronger emphasis on it. It’s a really great game to play on a day off with your friends!
You can all work together to survive in a seemingly endless ocean and build the perfect floating base together while you fight off sharks and other undersea predators. Overall, Raft is a really great game that’s a lot of fun to play. It offers players a lot in how they want to build and customize their raft, and it shares many of the same great survival features that Subnautica has, making it a great choice for fans of the open-world survival crafting genre.
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